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Cannon Michael runs an 11,000-acre farm in California's Central Valley. His family has been farming in the state for six generations.

Michael's multimillion-dollar operation usually provides a wealth of crops including tomatoes, onions and melons. But recently, he's pretty pessimistic about work.

"It is going to be a year that's probably, at best, maybe break even. Or maybe lose some money," Michael tells NPR's Arun Rath.

In the middle of the Mojave Desert, between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, there is a place that looks just like Afghanistan.

There are villages with houses, shops, a mosque and a marketplace. But it is all a facade. The area is actually a U.S. Army installation, the Fort Irwin National Training Center. If you want to see how a decade of fighting has profoundly changed the way the U.S. prepares its soldiers for war, this is where you come.

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Texas native Gina Chavez did not come to music early on. When she was 18, she went to a country-blues show in Austin to hear singer Toni Price. It was after that she decided she wanted to learn how to play guitar. So she turned to her dad.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

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The U.S. has denied a visa to Hamid Aboutalebi, Iran's choice as ambassador to the United Nations, which is based in New York. Aboutalebi is an experienced diplomat, but his past involvement as a translator during the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran is problematic. Iran has complained to the world body, and a special committee is set to review the issue next week. Bloomberg reporter Sangwon Yoon explains the diplomatic controversy and how it may play out.

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It's that time of year when colleges and universities send out press releases touting which coveted commencement speakers they've snagged.

The war in Syria, now in its fourth year, has created a massive humanitarian crisis. More than 2 million Syrians have left the country in an attempt to escape the conflict. Millions more have been displaced inside Syria, forced to leave their homes to survive.

In March, the United Nations World Food Programme reported that a potential drought in the area could significantly hurt food production in Syria:

Weeks after finishing his sophomore season at the University of Massachusetts, Derrick Gordon became the first openly gay player in Division 1 men's college basketball.

Lucky Santangelo is a household name — at least, in those households where the shelves are packed with Jackie Collins novels. And considering there are more than 500 million copies sold, well, Santangelo's certainly got a fan base.

The souffle shares this in common with some of nature's most vicious predators: It can sense fear. This, at least, according to noted American chef James Beard, who once observed, "The only thing that will make a souffle fall is if it knows you're afraid of it."

U.S. District Judge J. Waties Waring was the son of a Confederate soldier but later became a hero of the civil rights movement — though he was vilified for his views. On Friday — more than 60 years after Waring was one of the first in the Deep South to declare that forced segregation was unconstitutional — Charleston, S.C., will honor him with a life-sized statue.

Waring was first appointed to the bench in 1942. Nine years later, in a landmark school segregation case Briggs v. Elliott, Waring denounced segregation as an "evil that must be eradicated."

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Over the weekend, soprano Kristine Opolais sang her heart out — and died twice.

Friday evening she had sung the lead in Puccini's Madama Butterfly. It was her debut in that role at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. It was a big deal. Opolais was so excited about it that she stayed up until five the next morning.

Whooping cough made a comeback in California last year, which researchers have linked to vaccine refusals. And with new measles outbreaks in Southern California, New York and British Columbia, the debate over vaccination is also spreading.

For more than a decade, Dafroza Gauthier and her husband, Alain, have hunted perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. More than 800,000 people were killed in the genocide, most of them members of the Tutsi ethnic group.

Earlier this month, the couple gave testimony against former Rwandan intelligence chief Pascal Simbikangwa in Paris. On March 14, Simbikangwa was sentenced to 25 years in prison for complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity. His was the first Rwandan genocide trial to take place in France.

Investigative journalist and author Matt Taibbi has long reported on American politics and business. With an old-school muckraker's nose for corruption, he examined the events leading up to the 2008 financial crisis in Griftopia. With Gonzo zeal, he described a two-party political system splintered into extreme factions in The Great Derangement.

And in his newest book, Taibbi sets out to explain what he thinks is a strange state of affairs:

Jamika lives in a two-story apartment complex surrounded by a 10-foot-high security gate in San Bernardino, Calif. The yellow paint on the buildings' outside walls is peeling.

She doesn't want to use her full name. She doesn't want too many people to know about her situation.

Jamika and her siblings had to leave the house her family was renting in South Central L.A. when the property went into foreclosure. With money so tight, Jamika moved to San Bernardino, along with three of her siblings.

Paul Rusesabagina is a figure from history — a terrible history.

He was the manager of the Diplomat Hotel in Kigali, Rwanda, 20 years ago, when the genocide of Rwanda's Tutsi people began. More than 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus would be killed in just three months.

In the next few days, the last four teams play for the NCAA men's basketball championship, a hugely profitable event for college sports.

In Wes Anderson's latest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, a writer relates the long and twisting life story of a hotel owner. It's about youthful love and lifelong obsession, and while the story is original, there's a credit at the end that reads: "Inspired by the Writings of Stefan Zweig."

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

Long before Cesar Millan became the "Dog Whisperer," with TV shows and a best-selling series of books, he had to learn how to ask for a job in English.

The video uploaded to Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell's YouTube channel on March 11 is no ordinary campaign ad:

Thirty-nine year old widower A.J. Fikry is an unlikely romantic hero: He's cranky, he drinks too much, his bookstore is failing and don't get him started on the state of publishing. He's also at the center of Gabrielle Zevin's new novel, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.

Have you ever had a sentence stop you in your tracks? Editors at The American Scholar magazine have put out their list of the "Ten Best Sentences" in fiction and nonfiction. Associate editor Margaret Foster says the inspiration came from water cooler talk around the office.

"We're sometimes struck by a beautiful sentence or maybe a lousy sentence, and we'll just say, 'Hey, listen to this,' " she says.

It's been said you can judge the quality of a civilization by the way it treats its prisoners. If that's true, California in 2011 was in poor condition, at least according to the Supreme Court.

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

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